I loved Rachel Tucker‘s first album The Reason back in 2013 and so I was excited to hear her new CD, On The Road. Rachel says that the album came about quite quickly, after a run of sold out shows at London’s Crazy Coqs earlier this year, when she decided she wanted to “record my versions of these amazing songs”.
The album is an eclectic mix of tracks, opening with a nice, fun and bouncy number Hand In Hand, written by Brian Lowdermilk and Kait Kerrigan. It’s a fun song that you can bop along to. Next up is a jazzy version of Where Is Love from the musical Oliver! and a very pretty version of When She Loved Me from the film Toy Story.
The album really gets going when it kicks in to the Cole Porter classic Miss Otis Regrets which has been covered by so many huge icons over the years from Bette Midler to Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich to Bette Midler and Rufus Wainwright. Rachel’s version has a great up-tempo beat and a nice horn section. A real big band number that really shows off Rachel Tucker’s best vocals with a Johnny Cash sound that I would love to hear more of.
The album also features a pretty duet with Rachel’s first Fiyero in Wicked, Lee Mead singing You Matter To Me from the hit Broadway musical Waitress and a new song I’m Falling co-written by Rachel Tucker.
Rachel delivers a strong, gritty and emotional version of The Man That Got Away, made famous by Judy Garland in the film A Star Is Born and one of the strongest tracks on the album is a cover of the Elton John classic Goodbye Yellow Brick Road which includes the appropriate line “I’ve finally decided my future lies, beyond the yellow brick road” giving a nod to the end of her time in the hit musical Wicked.
Speaking of Wicked, fans will be pleased to know there is a song from the show on the album. A really interesting version of No Good Deed, a song that is notoriously hard to take out of context with the musical itself. It starts off well, with the piano music from another track from Wicked I’m Not That Girl and then comes in with the sound of the whistling wind before Rachel’s haunting voice calling for her lover Fiyero. As the song continues, I found it became a little too gnarly and screechy and was difficult on the ears to listen to. A valiant attempt at creating that particular song though.
Rachel’s best work is saved for last, a cover of the Ed Sheeran song Castle On A Hill which has a proper Irish pub band feeling with stomping feet and fiddles galore.
On The Road feels a little rushed and under produced. It might work better if it were called The Rachel Tucker Sessions as it all sounded like it has been recorded in one afternoon in rather a hurry. If the idea was to encapsulate the songs from the live shows on record, perhaps an actual live album from the tour might have been a better idea, rather than a hurried studio version. That way there could also be a bonus disc of Rachel’s guest performers from across the tour which might have been nice!
Reviewed by West End Wilma